"With the exception of serious shark enthusiasts, few people have ever heard of — let alone anticipated encountering — such a piscine gargoyle," according to the ReefQuest Centre for Shark Research.
But an Australian fisherman who was trawling off Gabo Island, south of Victoria, hauled in an elusive goblin shark last month, thrilling shark geeks around the world — and terrifying just about everybody else who has come across images of the mysterious marine creature.
Lochlainn Kelly, the 22-year-old fisherman who caught the goblin shark, said he was "more excited than frightened" by the bizarre catch, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Others who have encountered goblin sharks in the past have been ... less excited.
An American shrimper who caught a massive goblin shark in the Gulf of Mexico last year said he was in disbelief when he saw the creature in his net.
"I didn't even know what it was," Carl Moore told the Houston Chronicle. "I didn't get the tape measure out because that thing's got some wicked teeth, they could do some damage."
"First thing I told them boys was, 'Man, he's ugly! Looks prehistoric to me,'" Moore told CNN.
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shark expert John Carlson told CNN. "Some would call them 'ugly.' I think, 'interesting.'"
Goblin sharks are still something of a mystery to researchers, Carlson told Live Science last year. "As a whole we know very little about these animals — how old they get, how they grow, where their nurseries are," he said.
The latest catch was a juvenile, "believed to be only two to three years old, given its length," according to Merimbula News.
It is heading to the Australian Museum in Sydney, though the museum's fish collection manager told The Washington Post by e-mail Wednesday that the dead specimen is still in Merimbula, on the coast of New South Wales.
"Right now we are working out the best way to get it here," wrote Mark McGrouther, who has acknowledged previously that the goblin shark is "very strange-looking."
McGrouther has also written that the goblin shark "poses no threat to people," apparently ignoring its potential to inflict psychological damage.
Here, for example, is what it looks like when the goblin shark's protrusible jaws do their thing:
There's a longer video here, if you dare.
This has been a particularly eventful and terrifying stretch for rare and strange shark catches.
Last month, images surfaced of a frilled shark that was caught near southeastern Victoria.
"The head on it was like something out of a horror movie," David Guillot told Fairfax Radio. "It was quite horrific looking. … It was quite scary actually.”
That eel-like shark was about six feet in length, with six times as many teeth as a great white.
"It looks prehistoric, it looks like it’s from another time,” said Simon Boag from the South East Trawl Fishing Association.
Then, just last week, an extraordinarily rare adult male megamouth shark washed up on the shores of Barangay Marigondon in the Philippines.
The shark was dead, but its discovery was still thrilling. There is confirmed evidence of just 64 sightings of the shark, not counting a few more fishermen's tales that have not been verified with documentation or images.